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Preview: Carabeth Coping

Carabeth Coping

Updated: 2018-03-02T08:04:27.434-08:00


So, a new post


I haven't been here in a long, long while. But perhaps it's time to start up again. But maybe not too much tonight, it's very late, I have a cold, but if Burke's feeling well tomorrow he has a skiing lesson, and Amelia and I will do some skiing too. Plus, I would like to do some schoolwork with them, and plan meals. So, for now that's how I'm coping.

some thoughts on socialization


I am homeschooling my daughter. I don't get too many questions about it, once in a while someone will say that they wish they could. Everyone so far has been enthusiastic and supportive. (Of course Amelia is almost always with me, so that may mitigate some people, but that's fine.) Once in a while someone with ask about the socialization thing though. This , to me, is such a no-brainer. I know that Amelia is not getting that 6 hours, 5 days a week with the same people experience, but I'm not sure that that is the best, certainly not the only model of socialization. We live in a place with 16 children, ranging in age from 12 to a newborn. On nice weekends or after school, now that the days are longer, there are at least some children to play with. In the summer it's one 2-month long play date. We have other friends that we visit a lot and we go to his school regularly for some after school play, Amelia is enrolled in 2 or three extra-curricular activities. She meets lots of children.

Something that struck me that she may get out of this different model of socialization is the ability to make all sorts of friends, with all sorts of different people. I think that often in a larger classroom situation that it can be easy for children to fall into groups of friends with similar likes and dislikes, similar favourite games, etc. Amelia has the opportunity to learn how to make friends with children that she otherwise might not. For example, there is a boy in our friend's class who is also in one of the out of school classes with Amelia. I know from my adult conversations that this child is 'the problem child' in his class, and that his classmates look upon him this way. There are many of his behaviours that I don't like, and that I have a hard time being around. But Amelia takes them in stride, and considers him a friend. I think that if she were in this class, it would be hard for her to have this same friendship. Partly because she would be exposed his behaviour for longer, but also because she would probably be with a group of girls who like to read and play princess, and none of them would want to be around this boy either. She even knows that it's hard for him and he gets in trouble in their class together, but this doesn't impact her opinion of him. I can't say that one way or another is better, I just think that it's neat that Amelia is free to be friends with someone she might not otherwise.

I think even with less extreme examples of difference, it's great that Amelia gets to learn how to be friends with all sorts of different people; she can play hockey with some of the boys, or farm with the older kids, or just run around with the little boys. With our close friends L and A, she knows what sort of play they do well together, even though, again, in a straight school setting, she might not be friends with L.

To me, that type of socialization is important in the "real world", yes, there are people that we are naturally going to be friends with and want to hang out with, but the real skill is to be able to be comfortable being friends with people who are very different from ourselves. To be able to understand how to be able to work with and have fun with people that might not be our 'type'. I hope that this kind of socialization continues for my children no matter what path we go.

Why I love living in a rainforest, (and chores)


I love moss! This kind is especially nice, it's very dense and soft and green.

Here is the chore chart we made a few weeks ago. We went to a store called Urban Source and found a sheet with about 100 sticky-backed square magnets on it. I have left room on the magnets so we could draw in little representations of each chore, but we haven't done that part yet. There are no rewards for chores beyond the thrill of getting a magnet under your name, but so far that is often enough of an incentive. Burke likes to do chores, even without the chart (that's the stage he's at right now, Amelia went through that too). Amelia would rather be curled up on the couch with a book, but she wants to have the same if not more that Burke, so that pushes her sometimes. I'm not very vigilant about getting them to do chores, so it's a good reminder for me too. I also find it somehow externalizes the chore process for me. I don't have to nag, they even come and ask sometimes. We now also have some 'fancy' (the shiny wrappers from Easter chocolates) magnets for non-standard chores. Amelia likes to earn those!



I've been thinking about how to modify my ecpectations lately. I've been getting frustrated and angry with the children very easily lately, and I've been trying to see how I could change something in myself so that I could not be so reactive, could respond in a lighter, more productive way than I have been. I had heard that anger is a reaction to unmet expectations; that is, I may somehow expect that Burke will happily eat his dinner, and so when he doesn't, (frequently the case), my expectations are not met and I get angry. I actually frequently use the word 'expect' with the children, rather than the less meaningful 'need'. "I expect you to put your toys away" rather than "I need you to put your toys away" or "You need to put your toys away". 'Expect' seems to demand more results than 'I would like you to...'.

One night last week I was half-watching some comedian, and I thought about humour, and laughter, (and how some parenting advice is to deal with your children with humour), and I realized that in a way humour is about unmet expectations too. A good punchline, or a funny situation is usually because it was unexpected. The comedian is telling a story, and you get to the end and schwoop, they throw in something that you would never have thought of. Situations in every day life can also be like that; (the only examples I can think of are fart situations...) (ok, really I can't think of anything else right now, but watch when you laugh, it's often at the unexpected).

So, now, the big experiment, meditation, work is; can I use the one to help me lighten up in my parenting. I don't think I want to be the parent always clowning around with and cajoling my children, but lately I know I could lighten up my expectation. Still have them, but realize that somehow it's sometimes ok, (or maybe even funny) if they don't get met. I don't know how this all will work yet, I'm still mulling it over.

(oh, and the picture has nothing to do with the post, I just like pictueres in blog posts. This is a new craft I've allowed myself to start.)

Princesses and princes and pirates


(image) It was birthday party time this weekend, and we had a prtty fun time, even if ai couldn't move for the rest of the night. Wow, it was more exhausting than I thought. We had8 children, so we had it in our comlex's common room. It was nice to have a clean, simple space, but the room is really echo-y, so it was really loud in there, especially because we were having a dance party! But the royal siblings had fun, the guests seemed to enjoy themselves, and we had help cleaning up! All good!

Those goofy kids


They're not asleep, just goofing around. Burke loves to be close to Amelia and doing what sha does, and Amelia sometimes allows it, especially if she thinks that I'll think its cute and I'll take a picture. Sometimes she even tells me to come and take a picture. What am I supposed to do? So I take the picture...

funny boy


Playing in the rain,


with spray bottles.



Here they are, the princes and the helicopter, the royal helicopter of course!

the Princess and the helicopter


I can't beleive it's been almost a month since my last post! Well, here I am, living with a princess and a helicopter. Amelia has been into Princesses for awhile, and I have been doing my best to avoid the commercial di$ney ones. She has seen them of course, in the neighborhood and on her night-time diapers, but otherwise it's been her imagination and a star wand and nice bits of fabric. Until the latest library trip, where our librarian helped us pick a few very nice books. My favourite is a version of beauty and the beast by Jan Brett, so the pictures are rich and beautiful with the best dresses. We also got a retelling of princess furball, (otherwise known as thousand-furs) this is also one of the grimms fairy tales, and is sort of a cinderella story, but this princess is a bit more active in her destiny.

Amelia has been 'being' a princess more often since the new books, and she takes it quite seriously. It affects her behaviour sometimes, she does things right away and even sometimes without asking, and is very kind to her brother when she's a princess. Not a diva princess, but a very kind and respectful princess. (this is part of how I would describe what cinderella's mother told cinderella to be before she died, it's the only way I can justify cinderella letting her family walk all over her). All to say, I'm liking the princess she is becoming. (it's not all the time, not even half the time, she still is a 4.5 year old). Burke even knows to call her pin-sess.

And Burke is into busses, trains and helicopters. Any time he runs anywhere (pretty much any time we're outside, and sometimes inside too) he holds his hand up either over his head, or more usually at his shoulder, with his index finger up, and that's a helicopter. He also loves to talk about them; helicopter on seabus, bus on toot-toot (train), teeter-totter-bus-toot-toot-weeoo-weeoo(firetruck)-seabus-helicopter.

So, we have a helicopter and a princess.

Better day for the aquarium


We went back to the aquarium today and it was perfect (except the parking rates are still the high summer rates), but we were able to go down below to see the baby beluga from downstairs for the first time. (She is sure looking plump!) All summer, there have been 45 minute waitsto godown, and sure enough, today there was no line up, and when we were there, there was only one other visitor to see her. I love it so much better when it's not crowded, I am not compelled to hold their hands every single minute.

We also spent a fair bit of time today watching the sea horses, I don't know if we just haven't watched them enough before or if they were feeling frisky today, but there was quite a lot of hanging on to each others tails. some of the ones hanging on were less than half the size, but then some weren't, and the ones we thought we babies weren't only hanging on to one particular big one. I guess it's time for a trip to the library...

Grouse Mountain


There are lots of these wooden sculptures up on Grouse mountain, Mia wants me to say that it's very nice on the mountain.



Amelia and I (along with Burke) have started homeschooling. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings we do school. Basically we do some craft (wool felting, drawing, painting), then we pack a little snack and go outside to the park, play, eat then come back home for some other activity, then have a story then have lunch. In some ways, this is not too much different than what a regular day might look like except for the large fact of my undivided attention. She is quite enjoying it, and I think that is the underlying reason.

I had a very distracted and unorganized (even for me) summer, so I am quite glad that fall is here. Not only is it my favourite time of year in general, but I find it so much easier to have somewhat of a schedule. Now the house and the kitchen get tidied and cleaned more regularly. Before bedtime, we have a routine of cleaning up the living room and vacuuming, so now I know during the day that no matter how messy it looks right now, by the end of the night it will be something resembling clean.



I know I'm going to have to stop this behaviour, Amelia parents Burke sometimes. For example, this morning she moved the mouse out of his reach and then she proceeded to tel him why she had done this. It was a very good mirror for me, as she said things like 'look at me' (pause) 'look at me' then 'I put the mouse away, look at me, I put the mouse away because it's not for playing with'. it's funny and cute, but I'm going to have to stop it somehow. (It is nice to have the backup though!)



We went to the aquarium today. I knew better, but we did it anyway, it was raining so I thought 'how bad can it be?' No, really a bad idea, if we just wait for 2 more weeks, it'll be so-o-o much better, the crowds and the kids'll be gone home or in school and the field trips will not have started yet and we'll have the place to ourselves.

We really haven't had a long summer at all, but I am glad it's almost done, I love the fall, can get into a better routine in the fall, and can cook and bake again!

from a recent trip


trying again


I haven't been blogging, because it was very hard to get on the computer by myself, that seems to have changed, so I'm going to try again.

So, yesterday, we went to the fair. The kids loved it, they loved the rides, and Burke was in there like a dirty shirt. luckily there were some rides for his size. We also ran into some friends with similar aged children and I think that really helped the event from being overwhelming somehow. Next year I think we'll skip the dog show and go straight for the rides and funhouses, because by the time we got to those, Lance and I were just about done.

dark knight


the boy likes to dress up...



I don't really have a lot to say, this was yesterday, when it was hot enough that they played in the sprinkler (andthen had a snack, seen here), whereas today we were in pants, longsleeves and fleecies. But we did havefun outside yesterday. (plus, it has become very tricky to get a non-goofy picture of that girl...)

A month since the last post!!



We're still here, tring to survive this chilly, chilly spring we've been having. This week the plants that should have already been up finally showed their faces, I hope that means no more snow.

So, we're human, eh?


This picture is what I came downstairs to one morning. Once in a while, Amelia and Burke will go downstairs together before I really wake up, and she'll look after Burke; she asks him little questions and he does his little "mm" in response. "Do you want to go downstairs?" "Mm." "Hold my hand Burke." "Are you hungry?" "Mm?" "Do you want some yogurt?" "Mm." clink of spoons. silence. "Burke put yogurt on his face."

I don't know, but that line of dots across his forehead doesn't look self-inflicted...

Today, as we were driving home, after a lull in the conversation, Amelia tried to start up a conversation. "So... ..., so, we're human, eh?" I tried to hold my laugh and said yes, she said, so Burke and I are children humans. Yep. (at least I think so.)

watch out for the hungry tiger!!!


Burke woke up from a nap the other day, can you tell which side he was lying on? I was surprised at how very frizzy his hair became. Amelia was feeding him bits of pineapple (until he took over for the last few pieces). He'll eat a greater variety from her. The only time he'll put meat in his mouth is if she feeds it to him. He hadn't shown interest in pineapple before, but with her feeding him, he couldn't get enough. I don't make her feed him often though, don't want to spoil the magic...

how cute is this?


When Burke wakes up at night and comes to find me, he closes the bedroom door behind him first. Even though really he's mostly asleep.



I've been having fun doing some embroidery, now I just have to figure out what to do with it...

happy birthdays


We celebrated both Amelia's and Burke's birthdays today with an ocean party (Lots of blue and green balloons to represent the ocean), and a beluga cake. One of Amelia's two guests couldn't come today, so she came for a little party on monday (mia's actual day) and we had sea star cupcakes. between feb 12, (burke), feb 18 (mia) and feb 22 (me) I think we're through with birthdays and all that for now!! I know I am. It was lots of fun, and I did get to do everything I wanted, both for myself and for the kids but whew, time to go back to no schedule or projects for a bit.